The evening is wrapping up and there is a new queen of the PFL lightweight division and her name is Larissa Pacheco (19-4). Pacheco pulled off the unthinkable when she defeated the previously unbeaten Kayla Harrison (15-1) over the course of five rounds.
When the fight started, it looked like a typical Kayla Harrison fight. Harrison got the takedown and controlled Pacheco throughout the first round. The live odds swelled to Harrison -1450 during the opening frame. However, in the second round, everything changed.
Pacheco was able to land bombs that visibly bothered Harrison. Harrison was unable to get takedowns and the fight was squared at a round a piece. Harrison had a really good third round, but then Pacheco controlled the fourth tying things up heading into the final round.
Pacheco landed really good shots at the beginning of the round. A scramble saw Harrison get top position halfway through the round and she kept it the remainder of the round. However, Pacheco did more damage from the bottom which proved to be key.
When the bell sounded, it could’ve gone either way in many folks’ eye. Randy Couture and Kenny Florian who were on the broadcast scored it for Harrison. However, the majority of media scorecards gave the fight to Pacheco. In the end, the judges unanimously agreed with the media scores and Larissa Pacheco became the PFL lightweight champion.
PFL Championships Fallout
I want to be very clear about something. Kayla Harrison is still an incredible fighter. She is unbelievably talented and deserves all the credit in the world for her accomplishments. Two-time Olympic Gold Medalist. Two-time PFL lightweight champion.
However, her stock took a massive hit tonight and that almost doesn’t seem fair. Larissa Pacheco proved to the world tonight just how special she is. In the last seven years, she only had two losses and both were the first two fights against Kayla Harrison.
Regardless, Harrison’s stock takes the hit this evening. Part of the draw to Harrison was the invincibility quality. We all know as fight fans that no fighter is unbeatable, however, Harrison’s perfect record is what made her a star. It’s why her free agency was so intriguing last year.
All of that is gone now. Harrison is still a tremendous fighter and one of the best in the world. However, the Queen of MMA she is not. At least not now. If I’m the PFL, I would aim to run this fight back next year. Harrison is not competing in next year’s season so that could alter the chances of this happening. However, Harrison should get the chance if it’s possible.
Harrison can win this fight and then go 3-1 in four fights against Pacheco. But, Kayla Harrison can no longer say she’s perfect and she no longer has that 0. Kayla Harrison’s fall concludes a remarkable MMA stretch this year that also saw the likes of Kamaru Usman and Israel Adesanya lose their titles in the UFC. All-time greats who were made human in the eyes of many.